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  • Matilda Thomann Studholme

Benefits of a four- day work week

A very much debated topic is the possibility of a four-day work week.

Lots of people would consider this would be an idea that can only be dreamt of. Yet studies have shown that it is achievable without reducing productivity. In this article, I would like to explore the benefits and look at the key downsides.

Studies on UK employees have shown that a four-day week is well within sight. It has many benefits like workers having a 65% decrease in sick days and 71% of employees have reported to have less burnouts, due to the lower number of workdays. Statistically seen this experiment, in which 61 companies took part together with 2,900 workers, was successful. 92% of the employers have decided after this experiment to continue with this work pattern and 30% have permanently changed the work weeks to 4 days.

A positive factor is that people are more likely to join companies with four-day work weeks, yet this could be due to the newness of the idea and if everyone were to do this the recruitment rate may also go back down. This all seems like a raging success until one looks at some of the short comings of this plan. It would be difficult for some professions to try this if they are reliant on service all week and are short of staff, like in a hospital. A trading business say even though they would like to have a four-day week it is difficult to implement it as they have a staff shortage after lockdown and cannot afford to give staff a free day. It has the downside that this could also increase the cost for healthcare as short-staffed hospitals will have even more unfilled positions. A difficult argument is also that some people need the structure of a five-day week, and this could be harmful to a person’s mental health if work is their human contact for the week, having one less day of work could be difficult. The most convincing argument for me though is that people become happier through shorter weeks increasing their productivity within a shorter time span. Those companies in which it is crucial to have a minimum of five days should be permitted to continue to keep their work schedule the same or to hire more employees.

In conclusion, I would summarize that there are more upsides to it than downsides yet; still those companies incapable of offering a four-day week have a valid point and should be allowed to continue as usual.

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